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...unpaid observations, sometimes not photographic!!
On any leisurely afternoon, while at MG Road, you would often get some coffee at the India Coffee House.  If you were in a mood for some snacks, you could order a dosa or a cutlet.


I only wish ICH stayed on at MG Road.  After a Metro ride, some hot coffee would have been great.  Of course, you could go to Kohinoor, but one, you really wouldn't and two, for all you know, it may not be there any more.

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Being a simple egg on toast guy, not for the lack of time but for disinterest in breakfast as a whole, I am fascinated by elaborate breakfasts.  Those, for which, one needs elaborate arrangements and those, which have mouth-watering names such as Appam-chicken stew, Parota-beef-fry, Puttu-kadala-curry, Iddiappam-egg-roast, Avalakki-bath, Shaavigay, Idli-uddina-vada, Nehari-kulcha, Chhole-bhature, Radha-bollobhi-alur-dum, Chicken-thukpa.  These are fascinating names.

Steam off the Puttu machine

While we were in Wayanad, sipping on coffee and waiting to sample the Puttu that steams slowly was a daily ritual.  Everyday we would do a different large breakfast.

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Since August 2010, I have had a newfound love for books.  Not for novels or literature but academic books.  The last year, it was mostly books for competitive tests and when I thought that I wrote the test poorly in February, I was summoned for an interview in March.  March 2011 was turbulent, really.  Among other distractions, I did attend the interview after travelling 7 hours on an airplane and spending 4 at airports.  At the interview, I was flustered.  I thought all was over until, in May, I received an offer letter for admission.  Given the calamity, my family went through over the previous months, the only thoughts that passed my mind at that time while reading the offer letter were those of destiny or some similar crazy sentimentality. Since June, I am poring over books as never before, trying to meet assignment dates, getting frustrated not meeting mean class performances, but coming out only thirsty for more.  The demand is much more than I can give right now, but the feeling of being challenged is amazing.  The next two years are going to be tough, I know. It is great to go back to school.

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The worst that could ever happen, happened and since then, healing winds blow desperately to dry wounds.  It's been four months since dad passed away.  Well, I could fly down to see him, but I couldn't be with him during his last moments at the ICU.  His respiratory system failed and moments later, his heart.  It was a cold Friday morning.  The previous Sunday, he rode his bicycle to town.

Ours is a small town, news went out fast.  Local TV channels came about and interviewed me and other people about dad, politicians came and paid homages, people thronged.  About 800 people attended the funeral in the rainy afternoon. So in about 10 hours, my dad's physical presence came to an end.  He was buried under a lamp pole.  I was happy that way, because on some nights, the graveyard tends to become very dark.  I stayed behind after everyone left the graveyard.  There were days when dad would read books alone for long hours not talking much, but that day he would not have wanted to be suddenly lonely.  So I was talking to him.  In maybe five years I would have taken dad to Italy, a place he wanted to visit, like his dad did.  This year we were planning to explore the river further down to cast baits among the shoals of fish that playfully warmed themselves in the winter sun.  I got conversational, talked loudly sometimes.  Back at home at night, I slipped quietly into my room.  I didn't go and see my mom; didn't have the courage to go see her actually.  My brother slept in mom's room and he would do that for some days.  It was a long night.

The next few days though busy, made me take back all my years of cussing about society and social norms and rituals.  Because those very social norms and rituals drove us to forget our grief somewhat momentarily.  We got busy for the next 40 days during which several prayer meetings and feasts were organised.

Deciding to get back to normal life wasn't too difficult.  Living that normal life became difficult.  Mom didn't want to come along either with my brother or me.  She lives alone in that house, 3300 km away from us.  Yesterday she talked about the incessant rains and a small leak on the roof.  There are 9 spare rooms.  It is a big house.  She doesn't want to move out of her bedroom.  On several such occasions, my throat runs dry.  We pretend to be normal.

Dad would have got the roof fixed.  Dads are great men.  My dad rode a bicycle everyday on winding tea garden roads, drove a Fiat on a rainy day or when he took mom out, lured fish out of the river with false tackles, pole vaulted in youth, roamed the country.  He was an outdoors man.  He did and said those special things that made what his sons are today.  All sons are indebted to dads.  Sons never forget.

This is what it is.   This is what remains.

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Every morning at Nani Daman, women clean large heaps of very tiny shrimp and separate them into two smaller heaps; one of which I believe is left spread out for drying and the other is sold fresh.

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Young girl who had a hole in her heart, now corrected.

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Minced chicken, lamb or beef mixed with scrambled eggs, stuffed inside a roti and pan fried.

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Minced mutton mixed with lentils rolled and fried. Found at Albert Bakery only during Ramadan.

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A Ramadan specialty of halwa stuffed inside the puri and deep fried.

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Very similar to the Parsee farcha, the only difference is that the chicken is not beaten, but sliced, dipped in beaten egg, rolled in bread crumbs, and deep fried. Bamboo sticks are inserted for convenience and fried along with the chicken. My guess is that the kadi in the name is a corruption of kathi. Found during Ramadan.

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Common in Bombay, minced chicken, scrambled eggs and peas are filled inside a plain flour chapati, which is then rolled, dipped in an egg based batter, and deep fried. Ramadan specialty on MM Road.

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Albert Bakery at Frazer Town bakes a puff pastry using brain, onions, and dill leaves during Ramadan.

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Made of minced beef, lentils, and spices. Dipped in an egg-based batter and deep fried, sometimes, in tallow. Sold as a kabab, or if you want it, as a burger. Found during the month of Ramadan at Shivajinagar.

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Fairoz bhai gives up his paan shop at Shivajinagar to employee the services of Mohd. Khaleel, who travels from Hyderabad to Bangalore to create and sell a much-loved Ramadan speciality, Haleem. Served with a soup of rendered fat and spices, caramelised onions, mint and lime, Haleem is a thick porridge of broken wheat, cooked overnight with spices and shredded beef, lamb or chicken.

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...born this year, on March 23.


She has all traits of Supergirl and that prompted me to give her the nickname Kara.

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